Career Information

Return to Career Page



Career data updated last on 9/22/2014

There are two types of physicians: M.D.(Doctor of Medicine)and D.O.(Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). M.D.s also are known as allopathic physicians. While both M.D.s and D.O.s may use all accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.s place special emphasis on the body's musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care. D.O.s are more likely than M.D.s to be primary care specialists although they can be found in all specialties. About half of D.O.s practice general or family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics.

Physicians diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries and teach people how to improve their health habits. Physicians may specialize in many areas of medicine, and some of these are listed below. Depending on their specialty areas, they diagnose and treat illnesses of children and/or adults through therapy, surgery or medication; teach people how to stay well; conduct research on diseases and new methods of prevention and treatment; and teach medical students and residents.

Salary $99.44 hourly- $206,830 annually
Significant Points Physicians are much more likely to work as salaried employees of group medical practices, clinics, or health care networks than in the past.
Specializations Physicians work in one or more of several specialities, including, but not limited to:
  • Anesthesiology
  • Family and general medicine
  • General internal medicine
  • General pediatrics
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
Work Environment Physicians work in clinics, private offices or group practices, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), hospitals, medical schools, public health departments, government health agencies, research institutes, and the armed forces.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including one biological science, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements

To practice as a physician, one must earn a baccalaureate degree followed by a four-year degree as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) from an accredited school and pass an examination for state licensure from the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners as well as a National Medical Licensure Examination. At least one year of post-medical school experience is required, but most graduates of medical and osteopathy schools complete a longer period of specialty training called a residency. Residency training is required for persons entering any specialty, and can take from three to seven or more years. An in-depth examination is required at the end of the residency training in order to become certified by the board of examiners of the specialty.

In general, college requirements for entering medical school are: six hours of English; eight hours of biology, including vertebrate zoology; sixteen hours of chemistry (inorganic and organic) and eight hours of physics. Some medical schools also require college mathematics and even calculus. Applicants must also take the MCAT, a national examination, no less than one year before applying to medical school.


Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctoral Degree Doctoral
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Doctoral Degree Doctoral

Return to Career Page